Tag Archives: Arc Arts Centre

‘Island’ by Blakeston School

Sadly, the WORDCUP2010 team from Blakeston School in Stockton-on-Tees wasn’t able to make the North East Final. At the event, Viv Wiggins, their poet coach, read out one of their poems.

Viv reading 'Island' by the Blakeston Team


This is Seanie Island, my dream location

Where I can:

Be a lifeguard and rescue the Liverpool Football squad

Do Thai boxing all day and master the art

Live next door to Steven Gerrard

Play Bon Jovi records and The Prodigy

Make all of my own clothes just for me.

(Chorus) Yeah but you are not free to FEEL!


This is Nathan island, my dream location

Where I can:

Bounce all day on my trampoline whale land

Swim with the sharks and sunbathe together like a normal happy family

Build a huge house for homeless people to sleep

Sail around the world and see different people and countries

Where there are no rules except ‘TERRORISTS KEEP OUT!’

(Chorus) Yeah, but you are not free to LOVE!


This is Daniel island, my dream location

Where I can:

Drive amazing cars as fast as I can at the age of 3

Buy anything I want at any time and it’s all free

Constantly watch new ‘Top Gear’ episodes

Where one week it is hot and the next week it snows

Where wild, exotic animals roam free but they are also friendly

(Chorus) Yeah, but you are not free to EXPRESS YOURSELF!


This is Matthew Island, my dream location

Where I can:

Spend all night with the army cadets

Drive my tank all over the land

Hunt animals and find plants to survive

Play snowball fights in a special dome

Where school has not been introduced

(Chorus) Yeah but you are not free to WRITE!


This is Jordan Island, my dream location

Where I can:

Swim all day and win all the medals

Permanently be on holiday

Listen to the words of Eminem

Have a new pair of trainers every month

Watch ‘Mock the Week’ every night

(Chorus) Yeah but you are not free to THINK!


This is Callum’s island, my dream location

Where I can:

Eat all the chocolate and it never runs out

Buy all the games in the world

…and will win the Euromillions lottery

Start a rock and roll band and be bigger than ‘Oasis’

Fly to Jupiter as many times as I like

(Chorus) Yeah, but you are not free to PROTECT!


This is Taryn Island, my dream location

Where I can:

Eat chocolate ripples before they melt

Chat all day and night to my friends and never stop

Play netball and have the winning team

Spend time on the beach with my whole family

Eat Sunday Roast every day washed down with ‘Capri Sun’.

(Chorus) Yeah but you are not free to SPEAK OUTRIGHT!

(Chorus) Let’s all think for a minute, and work together…


This is OUR Island, our dream location

We share all our skills and our motivation


We are free to THINK, to PROTECT and to SPEAK OUTRIGHT

This is OUR Island

Love ‘Blakey’ xxxxx


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The North East Final

On Saturday 3 July at the Arc Arts Centre in Stockton-on-Tees, young people from across the North East came together for a day of performances, workshops and the North East WORDCUP final. The venue was literally buzzing with yellow t-shirts and poetic energy. Here are some images and thoughts from the day…

Young poets receive their t-shirts

The Managers' Match: Jacob Sam-La Rose introduces the Poet Coaches

Simma performs at the Managers' Match

‘The best thing was working with Jeff and training. I have learned to organise my lyrics’ – Student


Getting to know the other teams

What was the best thing about WORDCUP2010?

‘The workshops. I met new people and had lots of fun playing the games’ – Student


What have you learnt during the project?

‘That there are different ways to deal with stress and emotions and anything is possible’ – Student

Jean 'Binta' Breeze opens the evening

The slam begins... The Black Books perform

Three words to describe WORDCUP2010: ‘Fun, Exciting, Nervous’ – Student

Drastic Camp perform!

New Writing North Young Writers

What would you change about WORDCUP2010?

‘Make the workshops longer’ – Student

The 'Most Striking Performance Technique Award' goes to New Writing North Young Writers

The 'Most Striking Line Award' goes to The Black Books

...And the 'Highest Scoring Team' are the Mainstream Misfits who will go on to represent the North East at the National WORDCUP2010 Final in Manchester

...What is striking about the day is how all the teams interact and get to know each other, so that when it comes to the Slam, they are supporting everyone, not just their own team

How would you describe WORDCUP2010?

‘Spontaneous’ ‘Mind-Blowing’ ‘Awesome’ ‘Legend’ – Students’ responses

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Notes from the North East

WORDCUP2010 kicked off in the North East, where an extended project is taking place, coordinated by Radikal Words. Ten teams of young people in the region are working with poet coaches towards their own regional final, which will take place at the Arc in Stockon-on-Tees on Saturday 3 July.

At the end of March, the North East poets met at the Arc for two days of workshops, led by Radikal Words and Jacob Sam-La Rose, Artistic Director of the London Teenage Poetry SLAM and WORDCUP’s creative consultant. The workshops focussed on sharing and developing tools for working with young people.

I went up for the first day and it was wonderful to be in a room with so many talented poets and performers who all care about bringing poetry into education. As with all good meetings, it involved lots of games, led by different members of the group. Here’s one led by Jeff Price of Radikal Words – a game he often plays with students to get them writing and thinking about themselves…

This Hand…

  • Ask each member of the group to draw around their writing hand. They must then write their name in the middle
  • Outside the hand, ask them to write down three things their hand has done: two true things, and one lie
  • Ask each member to feed back what they have written and ask the group to guess which one is the lie

"This hand has milked a cow, this hand has caught a pigeon, this hand has been broken...."

One of the best things about working on a project like this is seeing how willing poet coaches are to share ideas, techniques and teaching material. Jacob led an exercise on poetic principles – asking the poets what, for them, creates strong writing. Here are some of the things they said:

  • Have a strong message
  • Convey the familiar in an original way
  • Tell personal stories  – make them interesting
  • Write it all down in the first draft – edit later. Kill the inner censor!
  • Draw on the senses
  • Be specific – use concrete images
  • Avoid clichés
  • Don’t rely on rhyme – use a range of poetic devices
  • Connect to your audience
  • Have fun

Young poets, take note!

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